Run, rest, repeat.

On a gloomy, dark, rainy day like today is turning out to be, I figured that instead of focusing on the negative, it was time to start over and begin thinking more positive. The past week has been long, tiring, frustrating, and did I mention long? To say the least, thank goodness it’s the weekend. Even so, there are a bunch of exciting things happening in the near future to look forward to, and I know I can’t stay bummed for long.

Leading up to the first day of track, I’ve taken the weekend off from running. Tired legs, tired mind … ugh. I’ve just been tired. Maybe sitting around and being completely lazy isn’t the best workout, but it’s one I can definitely fit into my busy busy schedule!

On a happier note, Andrea, my coach and I are going up to Seattle to watch an indoor track meet at the University of Washington later today. For those of you who may or may not follow running news, the meet is the Brooks PR Invitational. It’s a meet that invites that best highschool athletes from around the country to come and run against each other on the “fastest track.” That being so, it’s always a blast to go and watch! This will be my third year going and it’s such a fun way to start off the track season. Not to mention we always get a bunch of free stuff (i.e: shirts, stickers, posters, tattoos, etc.). Oh, and did I mention how cute some of the runners are? I mean … fast? :-)

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Even though I’ve taken the weekend off from running, I’ve still gotten some exercise in. Instead of running, it’s been in the form of dog-sitting. Friday night our new dog Milo was dropped off by his previous foster mom and since then, our house has become a mad house. Transitioning into our new life with Milo, everyone’s routine has been shaken up. There’s been plenty of snarling, barking, running, running into things,  yelling “off” and “no”, and reprimanding with a spray bottle. We’re all still adjusting to the changes, but I can already see that Milo is a good addition to our family. Even if he wants to play all the time (only being 14 months!) and keeps getting shut down by Paco! Who we’ve fondly nicknamed the “Fun Police.”

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Besides watching the two dogs play, sitting around watching Netflix, and the occasional homework assignment, I’ve actually been somewhat productive! As we speak, I have a letter on its way to Indiana. Inside is a cross country questionnaire that is all filled out and ready to be pored over by a coach at Notre Dame. While I’m not the fastest of the fast and am happy being a middle of the pack runner, I don’t see any harm in filling our running questionnaires for colleges that I have an interest in. Notre Dame has only recently peaked my interest, but has many of the qualities that I’m looking for. Even though they are a D1 school and where my running is at now there is no chance of being recruited, you never know! I only have to run 45 seconds faster in the mile this year to get there … I like to think that this spring is going to be my “breakout season.” ;-)

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I hope you all are having a great weekend! Track 2013 starts tomorrow … wish me luck!

Until next time,

Gabby.

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Run-a-versary! Four years down, a lifetime to go.

Four years ago there stood a tall, gawky girl with long frizzy curls and a mouth full of braces. Wearing a cotton t-shirt, an old pair of tennis shoes, and not knowing what to expect, she was waiting to go on her first run. One that would change her life from then on out …

That morning she was meeting with a family friend that helped coach track and field at one of the local high schools. The man she and her parents were meeting was the hurdle coach, and had offered to meet with the family to take the aspiring 7th grader on a run and share a few tips before her first track season. The group met in a small parking lot that connected to a gravel trail following the edge of a small lake. The loop was a mile and a half. A lot longer of a distance than the girl had ever run; soccer practices aside. Shyly leaving her parents’ company to run, the coach and runner dup set off a slow pace along the path. As they ran, the girl listened to the man’s tips on running and keeping her form relaxed. Whatever that meant. He said things about keeping your hands in loose fists, arms by your sides, focusing on an even stride, paying attention to what’s happening around you, watching where your feet going, etc … So many things to remember and so many questions still to ask. All around the scenic lake they ran by walkers, runners, and bikers as each of them went about their own business and enjoyed the morning.

View from path around the lake.

View from the running path around the lake.

Before she knew it, they were back where they first started. Her parents stood waiting by their car, exclaiming how fast the pair had run around the lake and asking how it had gone. Heart pounding, information fresh in her head, and legs throbbing, the girl gushed over the past 20 minutes and what she’d learned. She had loved every minute and wanted to make another loop. Before leaving, the girl and her parents thanked the man and talked about possibly meeting agin to run or work on hurdles. Running hurdles was the girl’s dream for the upcoming track season and she was determined to be the best. As the group split up and drove away, that scenic loop would later be remembered as the most important mile and a half the girl had ever run …

That gawky, un-coordinated girl went into her first track season with as much as excitement as she’d gained from her first run. Training with other junior high girls and one of the high school hurdlers, she dutifully ran each practice to her best ability and worked on hurdle form. The first meet came and went, the girl placing fourth in the hurdles. For fun, she also ran the mile. The coaches saw her success in the mile and urged her to try to 800m. Running both the mile and the 800m at the next meet, the girl was hooked. She went on to run both at districts, winning the district title in the mile, and setting two personal records. A 6:15 in the mile, and a 2:52 in the 800m. Not too shabby for a seventh grader.

If you haven’t guessed, I’m that same girl who four years ago from today, went for her very first run. That was a day that I ran the first of thousands of miles and entered into a whole new lifestyle: that of a runner. Upon mentioning that today was my 4th Run-a-versary to my parents, my mom commented, “Only 4 years? It feel like you’ve been running a lot longer than that!” Looking back on it, 4 years is a long time … and yet, hasn’t felt long at all. So much of my life revolves around running now that I couldn’t imagine life without my daily endorphins or lacing up my muddy shoes, going on each run and enjoying it as much as I did on that first mile and a half loop. For better of worse, I’m in for life. Running is as much a part of me and defines who I am as the curly hair on my head and my height of 5’10” that calls me out as “that girl.” Sure running can be painful, time-consuming, boring at times, require a lot of commitment, hard work, and while it doesn’t always pay off right away … for all of that, it’s an activity that (excuse my pun) pays off in the long run. Stick with running for long enough and I guarantee you’ll find more in it than just getting in shape or learning the street names where you run. Trust me. Or if not me, then that un-prepared seventh grader; waiting in the parking lot with her thick cotton socks and goofy smile, learning to run on that mile and a half gravel trail.

Until next time,

Gabby.

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Progress Report: Winter Goals.

Two weeks ago marked the halfway point of my junior year: the end of the semester. That being so, teachers have been giving finals, grading papers, and changing schedules. My schedule this year has been really relaxed and given me plenty of time to focus on extracurriculars and best of all, escape homework! Even then, I’m still busier than ever. Having grades come out, I figured it was also time for a report card of my own. Near the beginning of the off-season after cross country ended, I gave myself a few goals that I wanted to work towards before track started in the spring. With the start date of track season quickly approaching, I figured it was time to have a look at what I originally set my mind to do and see how I’ve done.

  1. Cross-training: Tobi’s Circuits — A

Three days a week for the past two and a half months, I’ve done the new  strength workouts without fail. Some days have gone better than others, and for as long as I’ve been doing the routines … I still get sore. Not to mention being absolutely exhausted! Grrrrr. Soreness aside, I can feel and even see myself getting stronger. As the coach from Whitworth said, “I’ve never seen somebody who lifted weights get slower.” Keeping my fingers crossed that he’s right!

       2.  Positive attitude — A-

After ending my cross country season on such a high note, I’ve been able to keep a positive attitude about my training. Running a huge PR at the beginning of January solidified that confidence, and I feel like a completely different person than I was even from a few months. Rather than give myself an A+++ from as good as it sounds I’m doing with completing this goal, the past week I’ve let myself slip into doubt and negativity. The past week of running has been tiring, long, and has made me question my training and how in shape I am. In an attempt to stay positive, I’ve realized that all I need is to think of the past week as a down week. Not every week can be the best. Running has its ups and downs and while I may be in a bit of a slump right now … the best is still yet to come.

       3.  Running partners — F

If only F stood for “fantastic!” but alas, this is the one part of my winter report card that I haven’t followed through on. While it’s also one that isn’t completely in my control, most of running has been alone. On occasion I’ve run with some of my friends, but overall? Lone wolf. In some ways, I’m bummed that I haven’t been able to run with others. At the same time, being the selfish person that I am, I’ve enjoyed my solo runs. Even in the past month alone, I feel like I’ve come to a really good place mentally. I’m more focused on my training and getting ready for track, and have kept a positive attitude.

       4.  Saving 3 lives — A++++++

Okay, it wasn’t actually one of my original goals, but it’s one that I’m the happiest about accomplishing! On Thursday my school held a blood drive and this year, as I was old enough, I participated. 1 pint of blood saves 3 lives. I think that if you can donate blood, you totally should! I’m so happy I could help donate to those who need it. :-)

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Overall, not too shabby of a progress report. Along the way, I’ve added to my off-season goals and have been fairly successful thus far. Those that I added include: running a 5K in February (which I will be next Saturday!), running 35-45 miles per week, adding in strides, and as always … staying positive. Counting down the 16 days left until track season, I’m more than excited. I’ve set goals for the upcoming season already, but am keeping them in the back in my mind in order to solely focus on the off-season and what I can accomplish in the next two weeks. During the season, I’ll still be lifting weights multiple times a week, hopefully keeping a good attitude, and running with my teammates. Grade on my next training report card? No more “fantastic” Fs, that’s for sure! ;-)  

Until next time,

Gabby.

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Catch me if you can.

Hi everyone, it’s been awhile!

The start of a new semester at school has meant homework, studying, and finals. Not to mention a changing schedule that’s even more exhausting and busier than before! To make up for so much lost time between my last post and now, I decided to spare you from a long and boring explanation, and instead entertain you with pictures!

Over the past two weeks I’ve taken the SATs, baked homemade bread for the first time, gone on a somewhat sketchy date, logged back-to-back 40 mile running weeks, researched family history back to the American Revolution, made cute pancakes, embraced my inner band nerd, added to my collage of a wall, found a new favorite song, set new goals, become a gopher to our drama club director, submerged myself into following the elite running scene, started a swimming regime at the YMCA, and used up any free time that I’ve had with reading and more sleep … among other things. :-)

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Transitioning into my new schedule, I’m ready to get back to blogging more often than once every few weeks. Oops! I have a couple new ideas to share and can’t wait to get them down for you all to read. Not to mention play auditions and giving blood later this week! Busy busy busy.

Hope all is well with and you enjoy Superbowl Sunday!

Until next time,

Gabby.